December 11, 2008
Belgian police have detained 14 people suspected of having links with al-Qaida, including three thought to have been planning an imminent attack.
On its website, broadcaster RTBF quoted unnamed justice department sources as saying those arrested may have been planning a suicide attack on a two-day EU leaders’ summit in Brussels starting today, which is being attended by the British prime minister, Gordon Brown. But the federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle said he did not know where the suicide attack was to take place.
“It could have been an operation in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but it can’t be ruled out that Belgium or Europe could have been the target,” he told the AFP news agency.
He said investigators had discovered that an individual had “received the green light” and “had said goodbye to his loved ones, because he wanted to enter paradise with a clear conscience”. The individual had recorded what appeared to be a martyrdom video.
The president of the Brussels-based thinktank the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre said that one of the people under detention was a “very dangerous” female extremist, Moroccan-born Malika El Aroud, a 48-year-old Belgian who writes online in French under the name of Oum Obeyda. The New York Times reported that the prosecutor’s office had also identified Aroud as among those arrested.
This article was posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 12:10 pm